I find it interesting this debate of which is better. I’ll never forget my first cholesterol screening at my first job out of college, it was 210. What? As I looked at my results. How could this be? I mean, I eat “healthy” I drink skim milk, I have margarine, I eat fat free (in the days when fat free was the thing) and I exercise every single day and teach classes. My grandfather chuckled at me as he reached for a glass of full fat milk. His cholesterol was 170 ish, he ate full fat butter, drank whole milk his entire life. He grew up on a farm in Mississippi where raw milks and butter was readily available for him to consume, (which he said was the “good stuff”). I was still in disbelief. Now almost 17 yrs later, my cholesterol is lower than it has ever been, and while I don’t consume any dairy, I do eat more fats than before such as coconut oil, avocados, raw nuts, so what is going on here? While genetics has a little something to do with this, it is all about the type of fats we consume. But at the end of the day, which is better? Butter or margarine? Let’s take a look:
Created in the late 1800’s in France.
It is really the color of white, yellow dye packets were offered during WWI for folks to knead it in their product so it looked like “butter.” Butter was scarce so margarine sales went up during this time.There was a big out lash from the dairy industry trying to ban yellow dyes in margarine in order to keep butter sales up. The last state to institute yellow dye into margarine was Wisconsin in 1967. (go figure)
It has been a part of our diet for over 100 yrs where butter has been around for centuries.
It is synthetically made in a lab with about 27 different components to make it look, taste, smell and feel like butter.
Very High in Trans fatty acids in fact most margarine sticks are 80% trans fats which can in turn triple your risk for coronary heart disease, increase you cholesterol and LDLs (which may explain why my cholesterol was higher than my grandfather’s) and lower immunity. Stay away from Land of Lakes, Country Crock, Fleishmans’ and Blue Bonnet margarine sticks. For nursing moms, it can reduce the quality of your breast milk, because good fats is needed to help nourish the baby through fatty breast milk.
Butter has been around for centuries. Grass-fed butter is richer in yellow as it contains more beta-carotene than grain fed butter, which is also lighter in yellow. Grass-fed butter is higher in CLA, a medium chained fatty acid that actually helps us to burn fat, where grain fed butter is higher in Omega 6’s which too much can be harmful to our heart health. Grass fed butter is higher in Vitamins D3 because cows are in the fields absorbing the sun, Vitamin K2, as the butter is digested in the cow’s stomachs (yes, plural there are four) which ferments K1 from leafy greens into K2 in the dairy fat. Let’s face it, grass-fed butter just tastes better. Rich, creamy and is great to cook with and will not raise your cholesterol like margarine and their trans-fatty components. If you cannot afford grass fed meats, then splurge on this. And for a fun kid’s science experiment, try putting both butter and margarine out in your garage or outside your door and see which one the bugs go too:
Are there any trans fat free options? Well…Promise Sticks contain 80 calories per serving, and 9 grams of fat (2.5 grams saturated). I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter Sticks and Earth Balance Vegan Buttery Spreads contain no trans fats, but they still have 3.5 grams and 4.5 grams of saturated fat, respectively, and the same amount of total fat and calories as butter. Source: Health.com For flavor and all the vitamin content, you are better off with butter.
At the end of the day, I prefer olive oil for drizzling and dipping my breads and use Spectrum Trans-fat free shortening and coconut oil for baking. But I won’t turn down a little pat of good butter every now and then.
Did I state my claim? What do you use and like?